Terror in Vallejo Name:Joel Thomas Toler Business Entities:Toler Bail Bonds Offices and Locations:Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, Yuba, Sutter, Napa and Contra Costa counties Website:www.tolerbailbonds.com

Joel Thomas Toler, a 62-year-old Arkansas native, has operated as a bail agent in Solano County for 15 years and is known for his long-running battles with the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office. Toler has faced several charges related to concealed weapons possession, harassment, assault, and more.

California’s money bail system as it currently exists does not prioritize the public’s safety, and stories like Toler’s are but one example of the state’s dire need for bail reform.

According to the Vallejo Times Herald, he showed up at a couple’s home in 2009 looking for a fugitive — who he had no authority to apprehend. When the couple explained that the person he was looking for didn’t live there, he allegedly threatened them with a concealed weapon.

“Toler allegedly told the [couple] he could make people like them ‘go away’ and threatened he had ‘done away’ with others who'd never been found.”

The couple called the police and a jury later ordered Toler to pay $450,000 in damages for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault.

In 2012, the California Department of Insurance suspended his bail agent license after finding that he forced his way into another couple’s home, refused to leave when asked, and shot the woman’s father in the chest with a Taser gun. The Department of Insurance concluded that Toler had no legal cause to be looking for the couple.

The California Department of Insurance’s suspension order stated that Toler had “no understanding of the obligations and duties of bail” and that sufficient evidence existed to show that Toler was “not a fit and proper person to hold his [bail agent] license.”

California’s money bail system as it currently exists does not prioritize the public’s safety, and stories like Toler’s are but one example of the state’s dire need for bail reform.

Given such alleged behavior, Toler and other bail bondsmen serve absolutely no public safety function. How much longer will we let Toler and the predatory bail industry hurt Californians?